NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - North Charleston City Council has approved the first reading of an ordinance to prevent people from getting ripped off by towing companies.
The city says the ordinance was sparked by complaints that towing companies were charging an unfair amount of money to get cars back.
Other complaints included it taking hours for people to find out to where their cars were towed.
Under the ordinance a wrecker cannot tow a car from private property without the property owner’s permission.
Tow truck operators also cannot go inside a vehicle whether it’s locked or unlocked.
And if the car owner returns to the vehicle and it’s already hooked up to the tow truck, the operator must release it immediately for no more than an $80 fee.
“Tow companies by and large are doing the right thing and they have been doing the right thing. This is only addressing the few number of companies that are taking advantage of the consumer,” North Charleston city spokesman Ryan Johnson said.
Under the ordinance there will be set fees charged for towing, either $160 or $250 depending on the type or weight of the vehicle.
In addition, prohibited parking signs must be posted at the entrances of shopping centers, parking lots and any private property.
Any towing company that violates the new law could face a fine up to $500 or up to 30 days in jail.